Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good friends.

Last night I ran away from home.  That sounds pretty sad because after all, I am a 23 year old adult woman with a career.  I couldn't take it anymore, jumped in my car and ran away.  I sat in a movie theater by myself with a bag of popcorn and a coke and watched 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green".  Now this was simply one of the best shows I have ever seen.  It was a simple, strange little story of a boy who makes a positive affect on everyone around him.  I was touched by the message of selflessness and friendship.  This boy went out of his way to help others.  He did everything for his friends that he made where ever he went.  After tearing up over this movie and finishing off my popcorn I walked out of theater into the cool night air feeling infinitely better about my life.  

Walking back to my car, I called up two very good friends of mine from Bartlett and invited them to have a cup of hot chocolate with me.  This is actually a very impressive move for me.  I have always struggled to put my self out there, open up to people and create and keep good friendships.  This summer I learned that friendship can be unexpected- and that your best friends can be the people you least expect.  I deepened friendships this summer and hope to keep these friendships, especially outside of camp!  We had a wonderful time together, we talked and laughed and shared our stresses and successes.  I am so grateful for them.  I'm happy. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

10 Summer lessons

I spent last summer in New Mexico- working at Philmont Scout Ranch.  It was one of the most pivotal times in my life.  However, this summer I went home.  I returned once again to Camp Bartlett.  Instead of writing numerous and very long blogs on this amazing summer- I have chose to sum it up into the ten lessons that I learned throughout the season.

Summer Lesson #1:  Learning new things can suck.  

As Head Commissioner, I did something I had never done before.  I was in charge of every campsite and troop to make sure everything... worked.  I spent the first week of the summer in a very foul mood. My other full-time commie was in Florida and my other part-time commies were often no where to be found.  One day, I sat down in Shawnee with my shovel and cried.  I didn't want to dig holes, move and fix tables, screw in signs and do countless work projects that didn't understand or know how to do! As the summer continued I found myself getting blamed for parking problems, dirty latrines, messed up schedules and awkward flag ceremonies.  Many times, I hated being a commissioner.

Summer Lesson #2:  Learning new things gives way to new opportunities.  

As a commie I make many, many new friends.  I had that chance to visit with and talk to the boys and the leaders that came through our program.  I was on stage constantly.  Everyone seemed to know my name and I was able to make my own schedule and see and do things at camp I'd never had the opportunity to do.  My fellow commissioners became my best friends.

Summer Lesson #3:  Deal with it.  

So when a certain person tells you to do one thing, and then another, and yet another, until you are so confused you don't understand which way is up..... deal with it.  Respect your authorities no matter how annoying and upsetting they can be.  When you are told to do a job, you do it.  You don't need to ask questions, because you might not see the big picture right away.

Summer Lesson #4:  Work through it.  

Quitting is stupid, plain and simple.  Don't make things more dramatic than they have to be!

Summer Lesson #5:  Don't think about yourself. 

From the first moment you wake up in the morning to the time you fall asleep at night- make every opportunity to help others.  Smile at someone, help someone carry somethings, take a moment to make a new friend, work hard to improve the world around you.  Do your job and do it the best way you know how.

Summer Lesson #6:  Don't assume you don't like someone.  Try to be their friend, and you will be their friend. 

Sometimes someone will say something that offends you, or hurts you or just plain makes you crazy.   Stop talking about them behind their back, stop avoiding them.  If you are in a situation where you see the person everyday, you might as well just start to like them instead of wasting your energy hating them.

Summer Lesson #7:  Don't be shy- make things happen.  

Don't be afraid to volunteer or to put yourself out there.  Be crazy, silly, spontaneous, loud and happy.  If you want people to notice you- do something to get their attention.  If you want someone to like you, reach out to them and get to know them.

Summer Lesson #8:  People grow up.  

Be happy for people and the way their lives are going.  It may take 18 years to finally become good friends with the people in your family.  It may feel awkward to share the same groups of friends and spend lots of time together, but then again.. it isn't.  It's awesome.

Summer Lesson #9:  Forgiveness happens- even if it takes two years.  

Don't spend anymore time living in the past.  Learn from mistakes and the things that once made you angry.  Turn things around.  The people who once hurt you might just become your good friends.  And the things that once made you so sad will soon become a great story and something that will make you laugh.

Summer Lesson #10:  Friendships can be unexpected and amazing.  

Your best friends may not be the people you'd expect.  Who would have thought that your brother, or the annoying kid down the street, the waterfront girl, your staff member, or handfuls of teenage boys would become the people you longed to see everyday?  Make friends, stay friends, and learn to love those around you

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Little Hero.

I am writing this post about a little girl in my life who has taught me a number of incredible lessons.  I hope her mother, who may read this- doesn't mind. :)

A little over a year ago I began teaching piano lessons to an 8 year old girl.  I was worried at first because my mom, who knew this girl's mother, told me that she was very defensive and might be a difficult student.  I was told this girl would have a hard time letting me teacher her and may try to fight me.  This girl has a good reason for being angry. 
She suffers from an incurable skin disease called Icthiosis- or 'fish disease'.  Her skin does not produce moisture and thereby results in extreme dryness, flakiness and redness.  She has to take long baths every day and rub herself in lotion and take medication.  Kids can be cruel.  Adults can be cruel.  And this girl has had to deal with looks and judgment her entire young life.

Right from the beginning I made it my goal to see her who truly was.  A sweet, spunky, and brilliant child.  I saw her as a daughter of God.  She became my friend.  She was a bit difficult at first, she claimed to hate piano and couldn't wait until her year of torture was over.  But she began to get better and with that came a passion for piano.  As I gave her weekly lessons I got to know her and we quickly became friends.  I understood her and she began to trust me.  Now I don't see her disease, I just see her.  I am able to look right past it. 

Not too long after, she transferred to Club Heights and was enrolled in the Afterschool program.  For the first time I was able to see her interact with other children.  Sure, kids were still mean, but as time went on they learned to accept her and began to make friends.  I love to see her happy.  I love seeing her learn and play.
This year I had the great opportunity to be her Group Leader.  She now smothered me with hugs, grabs my hands and tries to make me promise that I won't leave the Afterschool program to pursue a teaching job.

This sweet, beautiful, smart girl has taught me patience, acceptance and true Christlike love.  She is the strongest person I have ever met.  She deals with an extreme challenge but doesn't show it.  She puts on a smile and she is so happy and excited about life.  She is my hero.

This morning I woke up and looked in the mirror.  My acne is back with a vengeance.  I starred at the red, blotted skin and felt sorry for myself.  But suddenly I thought of my little hero.  I remembered her strength and her attitude.  I know my acne is a one of my own challenges in life.  It affects my self image and my self esteem.  However, I know that one of the many reasons that I met this girl is to help me overcome it.  I am so grateful for her!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The ups and downs of YSA

For those of you not familiar with LDS vernacular, YSA- or Young Single Adults- is the age range of 18 to 30 year old single members.  They don't don't know what to do with us because we're all a little crazy, so they stick us together and hope that we all pair up like the animals of Noah's ark.  Recently the church decided to switch things up a little bit.  There used to be single's wards and student wards.  Now everything has been consolidated into the the new YSA stakes.  It doesn't matter if you are a student or 28 year old wealthy bachelor, we're all in this together.  Ogden was the the guinea pig the First Presidency chose to set up the new YSA wards.  Now the idea is spreading across the church.  They are fun.  I avoided the single's ward for a long time, but it isn't too bad. :)

The three main purposes of the YSA wards.

3.  To keep an eye on us. No more ward hopping.  It used to be that everyone went to the 'coolest ward', this explains why the old 13th ward was so big.  Everyone is required to attend the single's ward depending on the boundaries of their home stake (group of wards).  This is nice, because people stay put, you get to know everyone in your area and the bishop can keep an eye on you.

2.  So we can go out and 'Rescue' the less active and non-members of our area.  It is important to make sure all the YSAs out there know that they have a ward they can attend, that there are people to welcome them and help them.  We know who lives in our area, so it is easier and more comfortable to be good ward missionaries.  The goal after the reorganization was to double all the ward sizes.  It's going pretty well. :)

And now we come to the number one reason for YSA wards.  You think that priesthood stewardship and missionary work would trump, but no- the biggest goal is to get us all married.  And it's working too, there isn't a week that goes by that someone new isn't flashing a ring or dating a new guy in the ward.  But it isn't working for me- but that's totally ok.  I don't need to be married right now.  And most of the guys in the ward aren't really my type.

YSA activities can be super fun.  Family Home Evening is every Monday night and it's really just a fun opportunity to hang out and get to know each other, while the bishopric plays matchmakers.  We played 'Where's Waldo' today at the mall.  We got in groups and tried to find the bishopric members and their wives.  They hid in the stores wearing hilarious disguises.  There's fun dances, stuff going on at the Institute and ward linger longers.  Downside is the wards can be downright cliquey and I can really feel left out of these groups some time.

For the most part, I love the YSA scene.  But the pressure of 'go get married' is really annoying.  There is plenty of ward members in their late twenties.  It will happen well it happens.  But I love getting to know everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shouting won't grow dendrites!

I have come to realize something very interesting about myself this week.  I had never really thought this out before- because in mine mind, everything I've done in my life is all sort of connected.  However, there are two big sides to me, that although quite similar, are very different.  My university supervisor and I had a good chat after a stressful observation/evaluation of my first grade teaching skills...

Side one:  The crazy, happy-go-lucky camp junkie/group leader.  At Bartlett, Philmont and Chasp, I have had to really come out of my shell and 'be onstage' at all times.  I am loud, boisterous, and a little intense.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Timid, shy people aren't the type that you see working at camps.  My voice helps me in these situations.  When teaching a group of mallet-pounding, leatherworking boy scouts you are going to need your voice.  If you are trying to lead a hike with a line of beehives fifty yards long, you need a voice.  When you are calming down sixty elementary school children so you can explain a sport or craft- you need to raise your voice.

Side two:  The classroom teacher.  Teaching small groups at CHASP, working with ESL, all my field work experience and now my Student Teaching.  Guess what?  First graders don't need to be yelled at.  And I didn't even realize I was doing it.  Those poor kiddos..  I have gotten so used to being loud that it carried right on into the classroom.  I know musical cues, movement cues, counting,and all the other strategies.  However, I am still 'yelling' at these poor kids.  I had no idea- I guess the big voice just comes naturally.

So it hurt- to hear my weaknesses.  I need to reinforce the positive, praise the kids, and just.. quiet it down a bit.  I still have 13 weeks.  I can learn.  And I can save my voice for the campfire programs this summer. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 in photos.

I did one of these last year, it is a fun way for myself to reminisce on the best parts of my year.  So here we go!  I don't have pictures of everything..


New semester at school- Geography, Astronomy, Biology... bleh!  I passed.  I made it.
I got hired to work at Philmont!  Crashed a Bartlett Staff meeting to visit my boys.
Single's Ward fun...

80's night at Weber State 

Visiting Debbie in Logan after an Afterschool conference in Brigham City.  Aggie Icecream! 


Emily and Layne got the OK from the First Presidency to go ahead with the temple wedding.  Whoohoo!
I started a new round of 4H clubs at CHASP- Crime and Spy Science and African Safari.  What an adventure that was!  
Valentines Day had no big events.  I don't have a boyfriend or any admirers.  I frosted cookies with my first graders. 
Amy Herrick took Emily and Layne's engagement pictures.  We had fun with Rachel's camera also.

Me, Emily and Rachel went up to Rexburg to visit Dani and Ariel. 

 We ordered Pizza and drank slushies to welcome in new episodes of Glee


Emily and Laynes Wedding!  

The night before.  With the cousies. 

Post lunch in- pre reception bowling game in our Bride's Maids dresses!

I went on a road trip with my cousin, his wife, my grandma and my sister.  We went to Arches, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Deadhorse point, Monument Valley, Moab, Green River.. it was amazing!


General Conference!  Lay around the house in your PJs and listen to the words of modern prophets and amazing men an women.  Pizza and soda for lunch.  :) 

Trip Florida!  My  boss took me down to Orlando to go to the National Afterschool Conference.  We stayed in an AMAZING hotel, went to interesting classes and learned some great games, techniques and references, met fun people, got to lay by the pool, eat at incredible restaurants, visit Universal Studios- Magical World of Harry Potter!!!  And did I mention this was all free?  Well except for Harry Potter...  So much fun!  

 Butterbeer!  Yum!

 Chilling by the pool between classes. 

Epic Hotel. Gaylord Suites. 

Easter weekend we drove out to Park Valley for some awesome paint-balling in a place called 'The Devil's Playground'.  My first experience paint-balling.  

Ben brought Jess along.  

Ready for war. 


Out of school with my all time lowest GPA of 2.6.   

Had a Cinquo De Mayo Mocktail Party.

Finished the Bartlett Quilt. 

Experienced a real cattle brand!

Road a horse through an open field. 

Me, Emily and Layne went camping in Park Valley.  Hiked to an old mine, told ghost stories and spent two hours trying to light a fire with everything from mirrors, glasses, friction, flint.. before we found the matches.  

We roasted marshmallows and Starbursts at Carly's parent's house. 

Hiked Waterfall Canyon with Debbie

Had my first couple of days at Philmont. 


I learned how to be a group leader.  Took my first group of kids to Hunting Lodge, and stayed in the same spot I stayed the summer before on my own trek.

We hiked The Tooth of Time the second week.  Picture of Amy before she ruined her leg come down the ridge. 

We traveled to Trinidad for the first time to eat at Wonderful House.  I love New Mexico.

  Any I had my first of many experiences at the Saint James Hotel.  Pizza on the porch.  Yum!!

Our tent.  Messy!

My first group of kids.  With Chun-Man and Amanda.


The heat continued.  LDS weeks came.  The best two weeks I spent at Philmont.  President Beck from the Young Men's presidency presided.  Sister Wixom- Primary General President was also there.  The Spirit was SO strong and I was happy all the time.  The drought finally broke with some much need rainstorms.

We traveled to the Great Sand Dunes the an amazingly fun day. 

Some of the girls from my favorite group of the summer during the second LDS week.  My Mustangs.  30 Beehive girls..  wow.  

The LDS group traveled to Denver.  We went to the Temple, we saw Harry Potter and we ate at some yummy places.  I love these guys.  

Stephers pouring some chocolate syrup straight into a Mustang's mouth!

Me with President and Sister Beck.  

                                          Me and one of my best friends from the summer- Jeff.

                                          Celebrating the Fourth of July with Lisa and Rachel!


Hike to Crater Lake with Rachel and Brandon, we got lost and bushwacked for three hours through Philmont back country- barely making the show.  But hiked through beautiful meadows, and took pictures on the ridge of a beautiful canyon.  Too bad I can't find the pictures..

My favorite people.  Eating lunch at The Porch. 

Trip to Santa Fe!  Cool Catholic Cathedrals, spicy food, post cards, live music, fun shopping. 

LDS groupies the night before James left- heading for his mission in Texas.  We hung out in South Tent City and laughed and laughed and laughed.. Then some of us sat on the program stage and told each other our life stories. 

 I took a hike with some awesome people.  We got lost in the dark on top of a haunted mesa!  

Chun-Man wanted a full group shot of all the LDS groupies.  This was taken after church one of our last Sundays.  

The night before Rachel left.  Chilling at the snack bar. 

We were highly productive that last week..  How many Philmont staffers can you fit in a program office?

A couple days after coming home I went to one of my other favorite places in the world.  Bear Lake. 


Started Level 3 in the Elementary Education Program at Weber State.  This is my class... :) 

My poster I made. 

Me, Alex and Rachel at Ben's wedding reception. He was the clown.  It was a carnival theme. 

The whole big crazy gang! 


Started field work in Odyssey Elementary, 4th/5th split.

Halloween Masquerade Party, hung out at Zach's on Halloween night passing out candy and scaring kids.

We had a Halloween Carnival at work.  Natalie is a genius.  We call it 'Angry Bats'. 

Helping Melinda at her work's spook alley. 

Me and Zach on Halloween night. 


Thanksgiving, finished field work, weather got colder and nothing really exciting happened.. 

My Grandma was hospitalized for a couple of days for some pains.  We had a little too much fun that night.. 

We had the family over at our house for Thanksgiving.  It was fun.


Celebrated Alex's birthday with Hottubbing, cake, and a movie.  

Spent some time at Winco. 

And had the whole family for Christmas.  

Good year!!